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The original item was published from 11/29/2021 1:09:00 PM to 12/16/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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Marketing & Communications

Posted on: November 29, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Officials Encourage Residents To Prepare for All Emergencies Including Earthquakes

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The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed that Forsyth County has experienced at least six earthquakes since Sunday, Nov. 21, prompting officials with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management to remind the public to be prepared for all emergencies, including earthquakes.

Between Nov. 21 and Nov. 27 there have been six small earthquakes and microearthquakes in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area, ranging in magnitude from 1.5 to 2.4. Many citizens reported hearing audible bangs and feeling small tremors, but no injuries or structural damage has been reported. 

In North Carolina, earthquakes are more frequent in the western part of North Carolina. Statewide they are relatively small, random and scattered events, said August Vernon, the director of emergency management for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. “Forsyth County most often gets microearthquakes, or earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or less,” Vernon said. “They are not commonly felt by people and are generally recorded only on local seismographs.

“However, damaging earthquakes are possible, too,” Vernon added. “In August 2020, Sparta was hit with a magnitude 5.1 earthquake that damaged more than 500 buildings.” 

Clusters of small quakes have hit Forsyth County in the past. Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 3, 2006, southern and western Winston-Salem had five small earthquakes and microearthquakes, ranging from a magnitude of 1.3 to 2.6. Although there were several reports of cracked foundations of residential structures and many citizens reported hearing audible bangs and feeling small tremors, no major damage was reported from the quakes.

One way to be prepared for an earthquake is to practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” which is the recommended action for people to take during an earthquake to reduce the risk of injury. Practicing now will help you respond quickly during an actual earthquake, as you may only have seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking begins.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management officials recommend that all families create a family emergency plan, so all members know where to go, who to call and what to do during any disaster or emergency. 

For more info about earthquakes, including a link with a list of all earthquakes in NC since 1916, go to CityofWS.org/2870/Earthquakes

More information on overall emergency preparedness can be found online at ReadyNC.org. To receive the most recently updated information take a moment to “like” ReadyForsyth on Facebook and Twitter.

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